In the past year, Apple, Google and other technology giants have faced mounting criticism over the lack of diversity in their workforces, which are populated mostly by white and Asian men.
On Tuesday, Intel said the company’s workforce would better reflect the available talent pool of women and under-represented minority groups in the US within five years. If successful, the plan would increase the population of women, blacks, Hispanics and other groups at Intel by at least 14% during that period, the company said.
Intel said it has established a $300-million fund to be used in the next three years to improve the diversity of the company’s workforce, attract more women and minorities to the technology field and make the industry more hospitable to them once they get there. The money will be used to fund scholarships and support historically black colleges and universities. The company said it would invest in efforts to bring more women into the games business, partly as an antidote to the harassment feminist critics and game developers have faced in recent months. Intel became part of the furore last year when, under pressure, it withdrew an advertising campaign from a game website that had run an essay by a feminist game critic, a move it later said it regretted.
“This is the right time to make a bold statement,” Brian Krzanich, Intel’s chief executive, said in a phone interview Krzanich announced the plans on Tuesday in a speech at the International Consumer Electronics Show. “It’s kind of Intel’s culture. We march by Moore’s Law. We say we’re going to reinvent Silicon every two years even though we don’t really know how we’re going to pull that off.”